We did something scary.

Today, I want to use the reality of a new baby in a friend group to talk about something a little deeper.

I want to talk about how to make, foster and grow these friendships so that things like this even get to happen.

So often, the biggest struggle as a mom is the feeling of isolation, loneliness and the sheer act of being alone with non-adults all day, every day.

When I got pregnant with Joey, I had a group of insanely close and loyal friends. None, and I mean none, of which had babies or were planning on having them anytime soon. Adam and I were the first ones.

What followed this was as heart wrenching as it was a blessing – those friends faded, and fast.

Not because we didn’t love each other. Not because we didn’t still want to spend time together.

Simply because life as a mom completely negates the life you had before, in all the best ways.

You come home with a baby and you are new. Your life is new, and the old ways of doing things not only don’t work, but you have forgotten how they worked to begin with.

And so, those friendships change, at first. And then they start to feel distant and not as intimate. And not long after that, you haven’t done anything with them in months and they’ve only met your son once, and he’s now 2.5. 

We are put in this terribly scary place of not only getting to know this little 7 pound bundle of non-sleeping joy, but you’re alone while you do it. And no one else around you is going through the exact same thing. And you so badly want someone to know what this feels like, but all they can do is nod their head and offer you more water, or coffee, or to hold the baby you actually don’t want them to hold. 

Getting up and changing this place I was in was the hardest thing in the whole freaking world. 

I remember the day I did it. I remember packing up Joey, alone, and doing my freaking best to make it to the gym for our 9 am workout. I had been to this exact same class pregnant, just a few weeks before this day. I was entering to familiar faces, but none were “friends.”

It was so hard. I didn’t know how to put Joey in the carrier very well. He didn’t even really like it. He spit up the entire time. My whole body hurt. I squatted and thought my innards were going to hit the floor. He cried. I cried. I sweat through my shirt and through his shirt and sweat stung my eyes and dripped down on top of his head.

I could only lift a small sandbag. Nothing like before. Where had my muscles gone?

I bled. I remember thanking myself for wearing a pad, even though I didn’t think I would need one.

And when it was over, and I felt defeated and still alone and wondering why I left the house FOR THIS, she walked over.

“You’re Nicole of Nicole and Co, right?”

Me, trying to put Joey back into his carseat, fumbling with the straps and praying he stays asleep in the process. “Ya, I am.”

“I follow you, and I hope this isn’t creepy, but you’re amazing.”

You guys, she said these words. She made the first move. 

She was the most intimidating person I have ever known. I had watched her, for months and months and months before, in the advanced class, far from my beginner/intermediate class I stuck to. She did pull-ups unassisted and lapped me when we ran. She had the most gorgeous tattoos, and eyelashes that basically hit the sky.

And now she was 8 months pregnant, in the Moms class at the gym, no longer able to do an unassisted pull-up and getting ready to pop out a child soon. Just like I had done weeks earlier.

All this to say, 2 and a half years later, I watched, encouraged, and photographed her birth her second baby. 

Her love language is touch. She purple shampoos her hair once a week. Her daughter, Madi, wakes up every night between 1 and 2 and comes to her bed. James calls me a dork, and it means I’m in his tribe, now. Zoe is her favorite dog and Ashland once knocked over Madi and almost broke her nose. She has a mole in a place she won’t talk about and her elephant tattoo on her foot is named Fiona.

Tasha was the first friend from my mom tribe, and now, I have these things to say about Kasey and Amy, too. Because we all did the exact same thing:

Did something really scary.

I went to the gym that day. Tasha introduced herself. Kasey invited us on a hike (which I flaked on… I bet she understands now). And Amy gave us advice on how to navigate the newborn days. We all sat there, on the gym floor, with brand new babies, and just started talking. 

Kasey was leaving her job to stay home. Tasha was missing her husband who was gone fishing. Amy was trying to get pregnant again. I was trying to figure out how to work in the studio with a newborn.

We had different, very different, struggles. But we were no longer alone in them.

We have not been apart since this day, and it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me (and them, I assume).

And then, after the third one of us had her second baby (I’m next, and the last one, apparently), we all gathered around and cheered her on, in the room, together, with her husband.

Because if we are honest with each other, the bond the four of us share is that close – husband kind of close – and it’s the most intimate relationships we have.

We share bodies, sometimes. In the gym, during labor, getting our eyebrows waxed and holding hands at the pumpkin patch. We know each others’ love languages and DO THEM. 

Watching Tasha give birth was the most intimate experience of my life. Even more than my own birth. The vulnerability that comes from birth now matches the vulnerability we all have together, as friends. We were, and are, raw, exposed and vulnerable, and were, and are, there for each other in every single moment of it.

This is something that, as it seems, cannot exist without having children together. At least for us. Our children, the seven of them, is what ties us. Growing them, birthing them, and raising them – together.

Tasha’s birth story is for her to tell, but she blessed me beyond words with the privilege to document the process, and share it with you. 

Scroll through the whole gallery for the sweetest little glimpse into Sawyer’s first moments earthside.

JoJo

 
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I’m Nicole, and this right here is JoJo. Or Joey, as we also call him. And this little man is the reason the JoJo exists.

Adam and I prayed for a long time for a family, me especially. I dreamt of being a mom and a biz boss my entire life. Luckily for me, biz bossing came charging into my life in my early twenties and hasn’t subsided since. 

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Joey, on the other hand, didn’t make his appearance until about 7 years later. By the time JoJo became an addition to our chaos of a life, we knew he, and we, were in for a wild ride.

You see, Adam and I are both business owners. Adam, an outdoorsman through and through, is a hunting and fishing guide. Me, well, I am a designer by nature and a writer by heart. Between the two of us, we own a total of 4 different businesses, from the outdoor world to the graphic design world to the blogger world to the world of the JoJo. Which is most likely why you are here. 

The JoJo was designed out of pure necessity. Joey, unlike (or similar to, you decide…) most newborns was a hard one to get comfy. Meaning – naps and restful sleep were a no go for ALL OF US. 

And as business owners and a family with an incredibly active lifestyle, restless-resting was not something that we wanted for our baby. Or us.

At the risk of going broke, we ran the gamut of every newborn product out there in an effort to get the baby to sleep restfully. Swings. Pillows. Swaddles. Bassinets. You name it. We tried it.

Aside from babywearing, which is how we got through almost all our days until he was too old to carry that way, Joey, and us, could not get restful, satisfying sleep.

After watching Joey grow into a great sleeper in his toddler years, and after watching every single one of our friends struggle with the same battle, we decided to create a better way.

Something to comfort baby that didn’t inherently create dependence. Something that was as natural to lay in for a toddler as it is for a newborn. Something to hold them while they rested awake AND something to soothe them while they restfully slept. Something that would help them through their startle reflex. Something that would keep them safe and parents unworried. Something that was portable, pretty and pristine. Something that could be used on the floor, on the bed, on the plane. 

And though there were products that fit some of this, nothing fit it all. And minimalistic families unite – we don’t want to buy ANOTHER thing.

One evening, Adam and I sketched up what we thought would satisfy all these things, and contacted a friend that could help us get a prototype made. And Lord behold, IT WAS PERFECT.

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 This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

This is Val, by the way. She's an avid JoJo sleeper and cutest doll of a baby we ever did know. Also, her mom is cool.

Joey crawled into it on the floor in the living room and rested, awake, while we stared in awe. We took it over to my best friend with a 2 week old baby girl, who hadn’t slept in weeks, and rejoiced as she slept through the night the very first night. We watched as our girlfriends bickered over who got to take the one and only JoJo on which night, because they needed sleep the most.

One JoJo, obviously, was not enough.

We are so excited to get the JoJo toddler and infant lounger into the hands of every active and tired family in the world, who knows that there is a better way to rest.

We believe that rest means more than sleep. We believe in restful sleep and restful rest. Like us, babies need a place to seek comfort, solace and recognition in order to get rest. We, as adults, like our beds or our sofas or the arms of our loved ones. Babies, of course, love our arms. But a rested family is a happy family. And we all need restful sleep.

The JoJo is a lounger made for children and parents who are seeking restful sleep.

Made for baby, the JoJo comforts and relaxes baby by providing a familiar and tranquil environment for baby to sleep. Its barely padded center makes it incredibly safe but also incredibly comfortable, no matter the surface underneath. Its raised and padded perimeter prevents rolling for infants and keeps baby in place. The egg shape allows the JoJo to be used for babies as small as newborns or as big as toddlers. Made to be used as long as baby needs.

Predictable and routine sleep environments are not always available. The JoJo provides a familiar and serene rest environment for baby, anywhere, anytime.

Keep the lifestyle, but don’t lose the sleep. 

It's Fine. Totally Fine.

 
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I’m calling you out, girl.

You haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass. 

I hear you. That’s ok. It’s fine. 

Really, it’s fine.

First of all, if you’re a woman, you know that when another woman says “It’s fine,” she’s lying. And also, it’s not fine. 

The only valid reason for not watching Masterclass is if you are completely and totally content with the way your life as a mompreneur is going, and have no complaints, don’t need improvement in any area of your life and think that every single day is a freaking ray of golden sunshine.

I told you, I’m calling you out.

I KNOW that this isn’t true. Girl, it ain’t true for ANYBODY. Including me, you, my mom and your mom and even those perfect looking moms on Instagram.

Listen, we all need help. We all need someone to tell us that we aren’t alone, and that we aren’t perfect, and that we don’t need to be.

The only true way to become better humans is by WORKING to become better humans. Self improvement, happiness, contentment and education don’t come to us because we sit and let the world pass us by. No, these things come to those who put their own self-care ahead of other things. Ahead of client work, ahead of Bachelorette, ahead of story time.

I know. I just touched a nerve, right?

That’s ok. Do I have your attention now?

When was the last time you put yourself first? The last time you said, I’m going to spend my day working on improving MY OWN LIFE, and not someone else’s?

The ONLY way to be there for our families, for our clients, for our teams, for our God, is to be the best version of ourselves ALL THE TIME. Or at least, as often as we can.

Don’t get me wrong. After two glasses of wine, I’m not the best version of myself. I’m not my best version when I forget to take my anxiety medicine, or when I don’t go to the gym, or when I choose to watch Friends all day instead of the other things I should be doing.

I am not the best version of myself when I tell my husband, “not tonight, babe.” I’m not the best version of myself when I put my toddler down for a nap he may not need because I need some alone time. 

But working daily to be BETTER than we were yesterday is the only way I know how to be my best version. 

Are you sitting here now going, “Well, shit. I’m not working to be a better version of myself at all right now.” Are you still in your sweats and had your husband drop off the kids at school and having your third cup of coffee and thinking about stopping reading this and scrolling Facebook instead?

Told you. Calling you out hardcore this morning.

What if you took the next hour, or your lunch hour, or your hour before bed or the hour that you feel like your husband spends on the toilet (ya…), and watched something that would help you to become a better version of yourself TODAY?

Would you watch it?

I think you should. And not because it’s my Masterclass. But because I want you – beautiful amazing capable Godly momma – to be happier WITH YOURSELF. To feel accomplished, to feel valued and valuable. To not go to bed tonight, dreading the fact that you have to do this all again tomorrow, and already tired. 

I want you to live in joy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. To eliminate guilt, overwhelm and time loss. I want you to feel better about yourself, TODAY. 

So, you haven’t watched Mompreneur Masterclass.

That’s ok. It’s fine.

Mompreneur Manifesto

 
 

We’ve got dreams. Purpose. Like, wake you up in your sleep-type goals that when you think about them, give you goosies and a mental high similar to that after finishing a badass workout.

These dreams are big. These dreams speak truth about you. These dreams are part of your human existence, your spiritual existence. In fact, they’ve become something that your nightly prayers revolve around.

These dreams, they speak to your children. Your business. Your health. Your home. Your husband. Your dogs and your cooking skills and your capsule wardrobe.

Raise your hand if you’re tired of hearing, “You can’t do it all.”

I call bullshit.

Sure we can, we just might not like it very much. And frankly, we will suck at a lot of things.

Here’s what the proverbial “they” forgot to say:

Striving for perfection and striving for excellence are two VERY separate things.

Sure, we can’t do everything. But why do we want to?

What if we could do everything, but on our own terms? What if we could everything WE WANTED to do, and put the rest to bed?

What if we could do everything we wanted, and do them WELL?

What if we could dismiss all the noise, the chatter, the judgement and the self critique?

What if we could put an end to feeling like we are not enough, and end the ridicule and guilt that comes along with that?

What if someone you loved, trusted and believed told you that this WAS POSSIBLE?

Ya, I dismissed it, too.

“It gets better. Easier. More possible”

Such a common statement that it started to become routine, and with routine comes a loss of value. And with a loss of value comes ignorance.

Mom told me, “I promise it will get better.”

I looked at her, and though it hurts to say now, I said with no hesitation, “We made a huge mistake. My life is over and this is my new normal. My business and my dreams and my goals have to leave now, so I can be a mother.”

I was. So. Wrong.

What if I told you that in fact, everything you dream of, is not only possible, but feasible? Something you can realistically achieve, right now.

Would you believe me?

Why would you. Who am I to tell you?

But here’s what happened.

I believed me.

Because the other option scared the living crap out of me.

There was no way this is what God wanted for me. I have purpose, and only part of that purpose is raising children to be good humans. It’s a big part, but it’s not the only part.

If that was my only purpose, what did I spend the last thirty years doing?! It certainly wasn’t preparing for motherhood. Or wifehood. Or how to correctly clean my house for company or to get a friend’s baby to stop crying.

No, I had spent the last two decades of my life, learning and educating and absorbing everything bit of information I could, while spending every spare minute of my time becoming an excellent entrepreneur.

Why? So I could someday teach, and show, my children how to do the same. And provide for my future family in a way that left me available to them, and under no one’s thumb.

This was my dream.

And motherhood, it seemed, had ruined it.

Our purpose is more. Our goals are more. Our lives are more.

I believed me, and it worked.

I hit the road running, striving for excellence in the things that mattered most. Feeding and loving my newborn baby, making money for my family doing something that made me happy, treating my postpartum depression and living a healthy lifestyle.

None of it was perfect. But never, ever ever, did I settle for less than excellent.

We can’t do it all. But we can do all the things we want, and we can do them well.

What would happen in your life, if you believed that in your deepest darkest places?

Would you do it?

The Story Behind the Podcast

 
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This podcast could be like a real thing. Apparently, it is a real thing. It’s out there, in the world, for all to hear. As of today.

And after listening to it, here’s what I know.

  • I say “like” way too much.
  • I kind of sound like a valley girl, which makes me sad for my friends who have to listen to me everyday. I’m sorry.
  • Rachel is so poised and comfortable in herself and organized. I, however, am not those things.
  • I’m late to everything. Literally everything. I’m not sure why or how this happened. But I am. And frankly, this is really hard for me to swallow.
  • Rachel asks wayyyy better questions than I do. 
  • Never in my whole life have I been more thankful for technology than I am right now.
  • Never in my whole life have I been more terrified of technology than I am right now.

The podcast has always been on the to-do list, for both me and Rachel. And when Rachel told me last year that we should do one, and call it Mompreneur, I about died.

You see, for almost a year, I was really truly the only mompreneur I knew in person, my age. I was InstaFriends with lots, and many had told me their stories of “back when,” but it was pretty lonely there for a while.

And then Rachel got pregnant, and Knox was born just a short year after Joey. And suddenly, I was not alone anymore.

And though we are going through different stages of motherhood currently, it won’t always be that way.

The first few years, we know now, are so volatile. Every day, month and season is different from the last. And I feel honored that I could help Rachel prepare for what’s next, and that Rachel could simply remind me of what had already passed. 

When our boys are older, and maybe going to the ranch together, attending school together, or practicing their fractions together, we will not feel like we are in separate seasons. We will be in the depths of whatever mompreneurism is holding for us right then. And for that, I am excited, and thankful, and so so so honored.

The term Mompreneur for me is so deep. 

Mom. Relationship first. I am a mom first.

Preneur. Wealth. Business. I am a successful business owner second.

This is the premise of my life, and the premise of the upcoming Mompreneur : the Course, but that’s another story altogether. 

Mom. Then Preneur.

And it’s an interesting place to be, let me tell you…

I’ve always been the Preneur first. The entrepreneur. Entering the business world from the ground up. Having ideas, running with them, making them matter.

And then I became a mom. And then Mom came first. And it was still this idea, this sprint to a finish line, but the finish line doesn’t exist. The race, the hustle, the steady jog to the end never actually ends. Because it’s motherhood. And we can’t ever, not ever, turn that off.

So yes. Mom. Then Preneur. 

I had questions. Questions like, how do I prepare for motherhood as an entrepreneur? Is there such thing as maternity leave? How do I help my husband prepare? How do I GET PAID when I don’t work? I have a service based business, but what happens when I can’t serve my clients? These are real questions, questions when you are expecting and have prepared but then suddenly realize that you haven’t so much prepared as idealized, dreamt or pretended to be ready.

And then you’re in the depths of it. Breast-feeding and nipple cream and hemorrhoids and stitches down THERE are real things, that MATTER. And friends MATTER. Even more than your mom might at that moment. Though we all know that mom matters. Big time.

So who is going to tell us? Who is going to help us? I needed someone to help me. Rachel needed someone to help her. And we had these talks, these text exchanges, that needed to be released to the world.

Things about songs by the Muppets that are making us cry and which iPhone apps I actually need and how to tie a Moby Wrap.

Things like what it felt like to birth a child one way, or another way. What it was like to have sex the first time. What it was like to have severe depression, and why we wanted to stay in it for just a little bit longer.

Things like how we want to go back to work, how we feel ok about leaving our child at daycare, or don’t. Things about how we miss our friends or freedom or WINE. 

Things that are taboo to say. Things that are hard to talk about. Things that go unsaid because it’s scary and vulnerable and TOO real to share. 

We are human, women, and mothers. And what are we going to say to our children when they ask us questions about their penis or the voices they may or may not be able to hear, or JESUS?! How will we choose to respond.

I will respond with the truth. Unfiltered, unafraid. And it’s time we did that for each other too, outside of the comfort of our nursery nursing chair. It’s time tears were shed and laughs were shared somewhere other than our dinner tables. Because we can. And you, momma, deserve it. And so do we.

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Mother's Day

 
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There’s a lot of really amazing moms kicking butt out there. I mean, almost a third of the world’s population is who I’m talking about. Moms in general, kick butt.

But in honor of Mothers’ Day fast approaching, I have rounded up so of my most favorite mommas to follow on Instagram.

I get asked all the time who I recommend for following along, for an assortment of reasons:

  • Momma mindset
  • Productivity and balance
  • Biz boss and momma workflow
  • Fashion and lifestyle
  • And so many more

But just a few of my favorite mommas on IG have so much more to offer than just those things. These mommas are hardcore dedicated, both to their craft and their offspring. Dedicated to their spouses and their families. Dedicated to building a community of like-minded friends instead of loyal followers.

These mommas are just a few of the many that I strive to emulate, imitate and eventually share life with.

Felica Allen

Reasons I love her: this boy mom is all things real. Felicia is the marketing director for Wild Bird, those amazing slings we all wear. But more than that, she’s a baby wearing lover, and advocate. Most of all, she has recommended some of the best books ever for parenting to me, and I love that we share a similar, if not identical, view of boy parenting.

Reasons you should follow her: the adventures she goes on with her boys, gorgeousness that is her life.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Felicia shared Janet Lansbury with me, and for that, I am forever grateful.


Simply Sadie Jane

Reasons I love her: Oh em gee, Sadie is so freakin’ funny. Mom to three, the newest being baby Henry who is so chunky I just die. 

Reasons you should follow her: candy suggestions, health and fitness inspiration, realness

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: watch the Henry Eats highlight reel in her IG


Chrissy J Powers

Reasons I love her: Chrissy’s honesty about life is unreal. Barely anything is filtered, she isn’t afraid to be real in any and all situations. All the while, her feed is gorgeous to look at and I wake up in the morning excited to see what she’s storied from the night before.

Reasons you should follow her: True biz boss momma. Mom to two boys and a girl on the way, and she has a killer business consulting, coaching and marketing. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her gender reveal story for their baby girl. She and her husband could not wait until 20 weeks, so they had the early blood test and her reaction is so priceless. I cried for a whole day about it.


Rachel Hollis

Reasons I love her: Rachel took me a minute. She’s a lot to handle. And then I realized, that she’s basically me. She’s author and mom and big biz boss. I aspire to be her, like ASAP. 

Reasons you should follow her: Motivation. Real life moments and solutions. Because she’s been there and done it and if you follow her advice, you’ll make it, too.

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: When Girl, Wash Your Face went onto the NY Bestseller list. It’s been there for three weeks, but the first day it did, her story and reaction was the most unfiltered, raw real you’ve ever seen. A little girl’s dream come true.


Against All Grain

Reasons I love her: My gosh, this girl is gorgeous. So are her kids and so is her husband. But that’s not why I love her. I love Danielle because she puts herself and her family in front of everything else. Author, blogger and basically a celebrity, Danielle still makes herself so grounded and accessible. 

Reasons you should follow her: Even if you’re not into cooking/recipes, she’s worth a follow. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: The shooting of her latest cookbook. It was astonishing. 


Jen Hatmaker

Reasons I love her: Do I really even need to say? If you’re not following Jen, you live under a rock. Jen is just, goals. The end. 

Reasons you should follow her: Her Facebook posts are pure gold. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Her text conversation with Glennon Doyle about her girl going off to college 700 miles away, stating that she made a mistake in raising her daughter to be self-sufficient and independent. She should have taught her nothing and made her stay home forever. It’s the best. 


Anelise Salvo

Reasons I love her: Well, I know Anelise personally, so I’m a little biased, but I love her because she’s so raw. She’s a designer, like me, and does so by all means necessary while also being Mom of the Year. 

Reasons you should follow her: She and her husband spend two seasons a year in different places - one season traveling and the other in Tahoe. Their adventures are the most amazing you’ll find. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: Last year, her and her husband and newborn baby boy, Costa, lived out of a van on the other side of the continent. She ran her design business, and they LIVED IN A VAN. It was the most amazing adventure I’ve ever seen. 


Shay Cochrane

Reasons I love her: Shay is queen. Shay works two days a week, and moms/wifes/lives full time the other days. I mean, goals. Queen of styled flat lays and all things pretty. 

Reasons you should follow her: Quirky authentic motherhood of two girls, all the while living in a gorgeous house with a hunk husband who also kicks butt in business. Also, she takes amazing photos. 

My favorite thing she’s said/shown/storied: I love her BTS of her photoshoots. She shares them all the time, and I’m sucked in every time. 
 

TARGET | THE ESSENTIALS

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Well. If I'm honest, 

I didn't have a post scheduled for this week. Not on purpose. For some reason it just got lost.

Next week is exciting. Last week was awesome. I'm not sure where this week ended up.

But nonetheless. After texting all the besties and asking, "What do you want to see on the blog this week?" the answer was pretty unanimous. 

"Can you tell us what you've been buying at Target, please?"

Ok, yea, totally. Not sure why y'all want to see it here. We could just go to Target together and get coffee after!

But, alas. Here's what I think y'all should head to Target to grab.


 

Fabletics + A Momma Who Lifts

 
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*This post is sponsored by Fabletics. All opinions are my own.

After I had a baby, I wore athletic wear most every day, like most new moms. I always made sure my top was loose and my leggings went high. Get my tummy tucked back up where it’s supposed to be and leave room for a nursing babe.

Until very recently, I never really cared about how that athletic wear looked, or acted, other than keeping my tummy tight.

But now, I’m able to keep my athletic wear where it is supposed to be – doing athletic things. Let me say this: This is an honor. Never in my life did I think I would be here, caring about if my bottoms were squat proof or if my sports bras cut into my lats or not.

However, now I do care.

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This spring, I’ve been able to receive and review some Fabletics athletic wear. And let me tell you two things about this:

  1. Really?! Fabletics cares about me?! Let me just pinch myself and act like I’m only one degree of separation from meeting Kate Hudson.
  2. I’m kind of sold. Gimme more.

Coming from the girl who wears mostly black and white and navy most days, these floral print leggings were kind of a shocker, but as soon as I put them on, I was looking in the mirror and literally “hot damning” myself. I can pull these off. And if I can, and walk out in public with them, so can you. I swear.

And also. I need to go find a good yoga class so I can show off this sports bra. I did a little review HERE of that one, and though it’s less supportive than my other sports bras, I admit I’ve worn it almost every workout. It’s that comfy.

So, you’ll see me rocking these spring flings, and for sure some more of the Fabletics wear, all the time.

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Favorite things about these leggings:

Totally squat proof! I know, they’re even white!

So, so soft.

Thick but very breathable.

High rise is snug at the waist but looser on the rise, keeping everything in but not cutting into my ribcage or waist.

Perfect rise on me (5’7”), coming just at my bellybutton. Also the perfect length.

Can we talk about this print? OMG, next time I’m wearing my fluffy pink sweater and putting a bow in my hair and calling myself Spring.

Get two pairs of these (and any of the other) amazing leggings for $24 when you join Fabletics’ flexible VIP membership program. Seriously. Do it. They are the best – go here for the deal.

Get my leggings right HERE

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ErgoBaby 180 Stroller GIVEAWAY + Review

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There is no other ‘hood I would rather be a part of than motherhood. I am so blessed that not only do I get to enjoy the little moments of motherhood with my baby boy, but I actually get to share so many things with all my other ‘hoods – like the Insta-hood!

Speaking of ‘hoods, how about the fact that cruising through my own little hood is one of our most favorite things to do.

Joey spends a lot of time in the stroller, strolling through our neighborhood with the girls, trekking through the gravel to the park, and most weekends we are at the farmers’ market; getting that stroller quite sticky with fresh persimmons and all the berries we can stuff in our mouths.

And just like our babywearing obsession, Ergo has yet again appeased my soul and my love for ease of mommyhood.

The new Ergo 180 stroller is just as fab as our favorite carrier, this one (in case you missed it), and frankly, I’ll be getting myself one of these babies if and when baby number two comes someday. Maybe even if baby number two doesn’t come. It’s that great.

But for now, this turnkey, super modern and ultra-awesome stroller is going to one of you, yes you, in what is sure to be the best Easter basket a momma ever did see.

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Ok, ok, but what makes this stroller so great? Well, let me tell you, momma!

It’s crazy lightweight.

I can carry this things with one arm, and still have Joey in the other. Oh, also, I can carry it down the stairs and also hold things in my other hand. I’m not kidding. It’s so light.

All four wheels lock, two ways, individually.

Want to walk the straight line? No prob. Want all the movement? No prob. Want to lock the wheel closest to your foot without walking around the back? No prob. Want something in between all these options? Ok, it’s got that covered, too.

Face your baby, or don’t (Joey’s preferred way to walk). Or switch.

With major ease, too.

Tall? Short?

Doesn’t matter. It adjusts for everyone.

Adjustable seat recline.

The only thing that isn’t as easy as my Uppababy, but still crazy simple.

The sun shade is the coolest thing ever.

It can go a little, a lot, or All. The. Freaking. Way. Down. This was also Joey’s preferred way to walk, apparently. He HATES the sun in his face, and this sun shade is made for a baby like Joey.

Cleaning made slick.

Just unsnap it, throw the seat in the wash, or spray with a hose as I would do, and viola. Clean without the hassle.

And the winner is – ONE HANDED FOLD UP.

Pull on the handle in the middle. I’m not kidding. It folds in half and then you can carry it with the handle. I’ve been folding it up just for fun because it’s so incredible. Like whaaaat?!

I have to be honest, I never thought I would find a stroller I love more than my Uppababy one. I adore my Uppababy stroller and carseat and bassinet combo. But this thing, well, I would switch in a heartbeat. I’m obsessed.

And so, I’m stoked to handing this cadillac off to a momma who needs it. Because God knows we could all use a little more ease in our mommyhood season.

Without further ado, I am stuffing this stroller box with not only this brand spanking new (minus a few Joey Cheerios from the photoshoot) Ergo 180 stroller but also whole bunch of other new momma goodies from some of my other favorite mommas to give one of YOU the Easter basket of a lifetime.

But how do you win? Super easy.

 
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Head on over to my Instagram and enter on the post with this photo. Just follow the loop of mommas, and get yourself the chance to win:

Be sure to leave these other mommas some love, too.

*This giveaway is not sponsored by Instagram or any other party.

**This post does contain affiliate links and I may be compensated from the brand retailers. However, all opinions, photos and copy are my own. Thanks for supporting me and the brands I love!

Also, in case you missed it for some reason, there's more giveaways being announced over on the email list. You can get more info by joining here!

Itty Bitty Moments

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You know those days, when you drive for hours and hours, only to spend a mere 15 minutes at your destination, and then you head back?

Growing up, and now as an adult, I tend to do a lot of this. Time in the car doesn't scare me. In fact, I really enjoy car time. Alone, with Joey, or as a whole family, car rides contain some of my fondest memories, and I always look forward to the trip.

What's even more meaningful than the car ride, though, is what happens in the moments you step out of the car for a stretch, or a snack, or a quick photo op. 

Not long ago, before we were married and really truly adults, Adam and used to take itty bitty road trips for the day, mostly to the snow. We'd just drive, and take photos, and marvel at the sites, and eat jerky and M&Ms in the car together. 

So last week, we both had an afternoon with little on our plates, so we loaded up Joey and all the snacks and headed for a drive to the snow. We had no intention of some major snow play,  no sleds or snow gear or mittens or firewood. We had muck boots and each other, and we drove until we literally could not go any further.

We literally oohed and aahed at the views. It's been so long since we've seen as much snow as there was that day, and we were giddy with anticipation of all this snow melting and heading towards our beloved river. 

Then we stopped, and it was during this itty bitty moment that these photos were captured. However, the entire day was simply magical. 

Side note – Joey isn't a huge deep snow fan, as he sunk to his chest and was blinded by the bright white that now encompassed him. But, snowballs seemed to make that much better and so we continued to tromp through and hit Daddy with a good amount of very wet mounds of white fluff.

Itty bitty moments, in the freezing cold and middle of nowhere, for a mere 15 minute snow fight. Magic. Pure magic.

Also, you guys... these itty bitty moments are ones I really really want to keep. So we've been having things printed through Artifact Uprising and LOVING IT. These little Insta books are so awesome – Joey loves to flip through them and see photos of himself. Anyway, here are some of our faves and we hope you start printing your itty bitty memories, too.

Get to know Artifact Uprising: this Denver-based custom photo goods company thoughtfully sources materials to create photo books, wall art, and other gift items. 

 

Instagram Friendly Books

Ideal for moving photos off your device and into your life, these soft cover books tout 100% recycled interior pages and a textured, matte cover.

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Wood Block Photo Prints

This rotating art display features 12 of your favorite photos set in a wood block, comprised of reclaimed pine from the Colorado forests. Perfect as a gift or to enjoy year-round, it's the ideal addition to a well-dressed desk.

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Baby Book 

The Story of You is an interactive photo journal that encourages parents to document their child's days in a meaningful way. Knowing timelines and little ones don't always mix, they've placed a focus on the everyday moments that matter most. Each book purchase includes a pen, photo adhesive, and code to create a complimentary set of Everyday Books to get you started.

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Ditching the Diaper Bag

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It's no secret that I rarely pack around a diaper bag. When I do, my friends are not only astounded, but dig through it to see what I could possibly need in order to need a full diaper bag in my hand.

Don't get me wrong, the newborn phase is different, leaving nothing to the improvising mind and a diaper bag, fully stocked, is utterly necessary. But as Joey got older, I found myself without much need for a full blown "ready pack." 

I started carrying an extra diaper in my purse, a large pack of wipes that stayed in the car, and snacks stashed in every crevice of where ever I was. 

But that backfired a few times. Cue, a very messy banana incident away from the car and a binky thrown out of the window when nap time was right around the corner.

Then, the other day, a freaking cat peed all over Joey's carseat and diaper bag on the porch overnight. After washing the carseat cover and emptying the diaper bag, leaving it to stew in the garage until I could muster up the energy to wash it, I decided to make a change.

Joey has a very minimal amount of essentials. 

Why am I toting around this gigantic backpack full of things that don't fit him, he won't use, and a massive amount of "just in case" scenarios?

I mean, really, it's not like we are going on a trip. The small drive from the house to daycare, the ranch and the grocery store surely don't qualify as needing all the doomsday supplies.

Moving on.

I packed a mini diaper bag today, and I thought I would share what's in it. We are almost two years into this parenthood thing, and a toddler is pretty much self sufficient at this point (cue, major sarcasm).

But honestly, he really only needs a few things, if any really, and my emergency supplies don't need to be prepped for worst case scenario. 

Look at it this way, if he has a blow out at this point, I have bigger problems than needing a diaper, wipes and change of clothes. I mean, he's a real boy now. Ain't nobody got time to deal with that in the trunk of a car.

So, necessities only. And if the worst happens, in his carseat he will go and driving home we will be to deal with the situation. 

In the little mini emergency kit:

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  • 3 Kirkland diapers
  • 1 overstuffed pack of wipes
  • Tylenol and measuring spoon
  • Lone binky – we use Natursutton
  • Spoon
  • Cliff Bar
  • Squeezer

I got two of these little bags when Joey was born, to put in the diaper bag to stay organized, and have found myself using them for EVERYTHING. I love them. Machine washable, you can see what's in them, they are the perfect size and I love the color.

Why Amazon Prime Runs My Life

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Really though. If it wasn’t for Amazon Prime, there are certain things that would happen in our household.

Like first, there would be no cleaning supplies. And that includes hygienic things, too. Whether it’s hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, Clorox wipes, shampoo or baby wipes, seriously, nothing would be clean. Nothing.

Second, we would have no snacks. I buy all of our fresh produce from the market or from a local fresh supermarket, but snacks stuff for Joe? Amazon. Peter Rabbit pouches, gluten free pretzels, veggie sticks, etc. Things that are just a little too hard to make myself, I order from Amazon.

Pretty much any baby supply ever would never end up in our house. Literally everything Joey owns is either ordered on Amazon or picked up in Target for a retail therapy run. Not kidding, not even a little. Bottles and washcloths and nail clippers and nose suckers and all.

Technology would not work. As in, none of our phones or computers would be charged, my backup drives would have failed and printing would cease to exist. 

So ya, Amazing Prime pretty much runs our house on an everyday basis.

And though tis the season for gift giving, we can so quickly forget that we should probably not blow our budget on things other people don’e need and instead gift ourselves the everyday luxury of having essentials delivered to our door.

My gift of the year? An Amazon Prime membership for literally everyone I love.

I get a lot of questions from friends and Insta friends about what I could possibly order on Amazon Prime so often, and how in fact it makes sense to me. So for fun, I’m sharing my most recent list of orders from the Prime, and also my top 5 things to have for Thanksgiving (many overlap…) that you can get in two days flat from the Prime.

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ORDERS

 
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Ok first, let’s talk about how I got this bad boy. Stephen’s Free Stuff. Meaning I got it for free. FREE. And also, I freaking love this thing and it’s the best non-$40 I ever spent. I even reviewed it on Amazon, and I’m gifting it to all my momma friends, new or seasoned. You need it. I need it. We all need it.

 
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Remember this? Yep, Primed for $24

 
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They fit Instagram prints from Artifact Uprising just perfectly, and also, notes from my husband on the back of said prints, promising that he won’t buy another boat for a while.

 
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Because Adam stole mine to use for some fishing bait concoction. And this one is frosted and pretty. Use it to spray olive oil. As in, on roast chickens, in a baking tin instead of nonstick spray, on roasting veggies, etc. 

 
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Still obsessing over this book and it has really expanded my horizons since I read it. You should too. Also be looking for an Insta challenge based off this book soon.

 
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THINGS YOU NEED

The Year of Cozy

This ring light for your phone

You know, for taking the best table selfies possible

The Misto

As stated above. Just get one.

Half Bakes Harvest’s Cookbook

This Candle

It smells like the best Thanksgiving sunset of your dreams.

Wear All the Babies

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Let’s talk for a hot minute about babywearing.

First, you’re preggo. And frankly, you wish, so badly, that you could take that baby off of you so heaven forbid you can COOL DOWN a little.

When I was working out while pregnant, I was so jealous of all the moms that could take their babies out of the carrier and lay them on a blanket, finish their get-ups and flutter kicks and bridges, and do a pushup all the way down without their belly hitting the floor first.

Second, after you have this tiny little human, and your belly ever so slowly begins to go back to the new normal, you wish so so badly you can put them back in, if only for a minute so you can GET SOME SLEEP.

No? Just me? Ok, didn’t think so.

This, my friends, is how babywearing made my life manageable. Notice I say manageable. Not great, not doable, not better, and certainly not easy. But, totally manageable. I mean, we are all living and happy and developing well and adjusting to this new thing, parenthood and childhood.

What we can so quickly forget is that babies need to adjust, too. This “baby” thing is totally new to them, just as this “parent” thing is totally new to us. Once I realized that we were learning together, not just trying to stay alive, it was much easier to understand his needs as they correlated with mine.

Something I found super early on was that this baby wanted back inside my belly almost as bad as I wanted him to be, too. But, alas, we cannot make that happen, nor do we really want to. So skin to skin, tummy to tummy, heart to heart is as close as we can get.

At first, the easiest thing to do was to accept the fact that this babe needed sleep, and so did I. And so sleeping on my chest was what we did. I soon figured out that I needed to do other things, too. Like laundry and eat and make dinner and WALK.

Enter, babywearing.

It was not uncommon at the very beginning, for me to strap on my Moby wrap and let that skin to skin contact happen. We all know that breastfeeding is ridiculous and mostly wonderful, and that sometimes it’s just easier to not wear a shirt. I mean, you’ll be whipping that thing out in no time anyway. For me, when we were alone and home and comfy, a shirtless baby and momma would be all wrapped up together in that Moby, happy and sleepy and full and perfect.

The babywearing continued into the night time witching hours, the social outings galore and then finally, back to the gym. Shirts on and all.

Joey is now 15 months old, and the babywearing trend has not faded, not even a little. And until he is too big for me to carry, it will stay the path.

Because of this experience, I want to share my passion, reasonings, tips and tricks and loves of babywearing with you all. But also because of this, it’s too much to share in a single post.

So coming at you the next three weeks:

  • Babywearing and the newborn bubble
  • Babywearing and fitness
  • Babywearing lifestyle

Coming at you this Thursday is all about the newborn bubble, and this was my most fondly remembered stage.


Ok, ok. But why should you care? I know that these “series” things are hard to follow and you might lose interest in a hurry and only read about the stage you’re currently in and then dismiss the rest. Can I ask you, friend, stick with me?

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Because that’s what I did, and then I wished I had prepared. Each phase of babywearing is different, and I would have taken even more joy and comfort and excitement in knowing how and what was coming next.

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Because there’s a GIVEAWAY with each post! I want to share this joy of babywearing with all of you, so with each babywearing post, I’ll be giving away a sling, carrier, membership, or something awesome to a lucky winner. Does this entice you?

I’m so thankful to all of you and for all of you. Many of you have stuck with me through this whole mommyhood thing, and now you support me sharing all about it. For that, I am eternally in your debt, and can’t wait to share the love with you.

Xoxo for now.

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Taking a Break

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I didn't need a vacation, I needed a social media hiatus. 

The moment I knew this was the case? When I remembered what someone I don't know in real life posted about on Instagram, but couldn't remember what my husband was doing tomorrow.

I had this plan, you see. I was going to blog twice a week and post on Instagram every day and take better photos that complimented my brand. I was going to story more of my every day, share and show my work, answer the influx of DMs about how I do my hair and also finish writing my book. 

I totally did this, for like, a month.

And it worked, I have to admit. My following grew, my engagement was off the charts. I was being asked to be an influencer for brands and speak at different meetings and classes and I was also being HIRED. Which is the goal. The ultimate goal. To make money, to make a living off of sharing what I love.

Here's what happened:

I got so busy doing what I loved that I missed also doing what I love. 

It goes both ways - I got so busy sharing that I missed working, and I got so busy working that I missed sharing. 

There has got to be a better way. 

It was like I had my healthy smoothie ingredients all cleaned and put into the blender, and then I turned it on and it exploded all over the counter and on the ceiling and stained my white shirt. Turns out, healthy smoothies kind of taste gross anyway.

There is one thing I am ultra proud of though - I didn't compromise. I was intentional about my priorities, and yes, some suffered, but nothing was given up. Not family time, not my fitness, not my food choices, and not my sleep. 

So what now? Well, I got what I was going for - work I wanted. And now it's time to do that work.

There's a time and a place for putting your head down, working hard, and coming up for air when you need to. I'm in that time, and happy to be there. 

So for the meantime, that meant less sharing, more working. But I know that that won't last. Because there's also a time and a place for screaming from rooftops and sharing all those baby smiles and shoes and recipes and run away dogs.

Ok, but since there haven't been any stories for like, two weeks, here's what has been going down in the Andreini household and Studio 22 walls:

  1. I learned how to make soft, flaky, buttery crackers, paleo style, And Joey is obsessed. As am I.
  2. So many of my friends are pregnant and have newborns and I'm so blessed to be able to be present for them as much as I can be. 
  3. Adam has been literally fishing his tail off. Trip after trip while also working his full time gig. So he's been gone a lot, but when he's home, it's so so wonderful.
  4. Joey has learned this deep scream cry thing that is absolutely horrendous.
  5. I've been working (a little) on the upcoming Mompreneur ecourse that is set to launch next month. So stay tuned.
  6. I've had the same piles of laundry on my bed/couch/floor/dresser/anywhere there's a clean surface for over a week. I just keep moving them around instead of putting them away.
  7. I'm drinking rose at 3:30 pm on a Monday.
  8. I have binge watched Parenthood for the last two days while Joey was at my mom's. I literally didn't even get out of my pajamas yesterday and I worked during the parts I remembered from the first time I binge watched it years ago.
  9. I went shopping with my momma friends at the used baby clothing store in Chico today with the babies after we worked out and it was the highlight of my week. If you had asked me if I would be doing that 3 years ago, I would have laughed at you. And now it's freaking awesome.

How to Deal in the Midst of Working and Throes of Motherhood

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This, my friends, is the most commonly asked question from working mother to working mother –

How do you balance it all?

What I’ve learned, so far anyway, is that you really can’t. All you can do is take it moment by moment, day by day, week by week, and pray for the best.

But some moments, days and weeks just simply don’t work. Part of what makes it all so hard to balance is that when us mommas try to make priority lists, we can’t seem to find the bottom. Everything might as well be written with the number “1” next to it, because it’s all IMPORTANT.

Trying to put kids before work, or work before kids, or self before work or husband before kids, or anything in between, simply just isn’t possible. Throw in friends’ celebrations of insta fame, family phone calls about which tea to buy and delivering too-small diapers to the local shelter, and you miss the mark on everything, it seems.

Yet somehow, we find a way. Each night, we go to bed, our kids and our husbands and our selves fed (pretty much), clean (pretty much), and loved (a lot).

But, I ask again, HOW?

The day to day balance of it all not only takes practice, but discipline. And a whole lot of self-awareness, I’m coming to realize. And that’s not easy stuff. Realizing that you set yourself up for a small disaster that morning is not an easy thing to swallow, and neither is knowing that you ate that donut when you should have had an egg.

Pay for that later.

I’m not saying, in any way, that I have this down. Not even a little. But I have managed to stay pretty much afloat, and for that, I can only attribute success to God. However, I have been able to figure out and enact some “protocol” if you will, that has helped be balance motherhood and working, so I thought I’d share.

First, I always assume that things are going to go according to plan.

If I don’t, then I end up taking too much time, energy and resources out of the rest of my day to plan for something that may or may not happen. For example, if the plan is to drop Joey off at daycare at 8:15 and not pick him up until 5:30 to go straight home, then I don’t pack an extra set of clothes for him, my sling, or any snacks.

But what if the plan goes awry? Well, I’ll get to that.

Second, I give myself as much “me” time as I think I need.

Whether it’s none, 15 minutes or two hours, I always give myself that grace. Sometimes I’m excited to get right to work, so I don’t take much downtime, if any. Other days, I need a moment alone with coffee, or I have the urge to write, or I am worried about a friend that needs to vent. I take that time, no questions, no apologies. It keeps me human, sane and healthy.

But what if there really is NO TIME? Well, I’ll get to that.

Third, I never schedule things day-of.

I try, really hard, to not make last minute plans. UNLESS it’s something I really, really want to do. But so long as I keep my schedule as it stood that morning when I woke up, I know that I can accomplish everything, be on time and not rush to finish.

But what if that’s not possible? Well, I’ll get to that.

I have found that these three things have kept most of my days smooth and fairly stress free.

But what about all the “but what if”s?

My friends, the Type A in me can not, would not, will not, leave those alone.

So I made a flowchart.

This flowchart (made prettier for you, mine is on a post-it note in my Jeep), has helped me through almost every balancing decision I’ve needed to make this last year.

Disclaimer – please don’t use this flowchart for life and death situations. This is really meant for the everyday balancing act. Trust me when I say, this will not get you out of a speeding ticket, missed family dinner or escaped pets running down the road. Sorry.

WHY I AM MOURNING THE HARDEST YEAR OF MY LIFE BEING OVER

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Let’s be super clear about one thing – this last year was really, really hard.

However, I’ve had years that were full of much more pain, suffering, fear, loss, terror and hardships. But this last year was definitely the hardest.

So why then, am I sad it’s over?

Don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not going through baby fever. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to convince me to have another right now. I’m still getting used to this new life, and I’m not about to switch it all up again. My goodness, I barely have enough time to shave my legs on a weekly basis. And don’t even get me started on washing my hair.

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I’m having some pretty serious nostalgia though, about this last year.

We are never going to get this first year back. Not even with another baby. Joey was, and is, Joey, and nothing could ever be the same.

He was so, so hard. Newborn Joey was what we would call, well, INTENSE. And though I can’t exactly explain why, I can explain some of the moments that made it so.

Joey didn’t really sleep. Like, at all, for the first few weeks of this life. So we didn’t really get the whole squishy sleeping baby phase. But once he did start sleeping, it was only at night.

Disclaimer – I completely understand how amazing it is that my baby slept through the night at 6 weeks old and never regressed.

But to be honest, I would have taken a late-night bedtime or a 2 am feeding in hopes of it bringing us NAP TIME.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, other tough things? Adam had to go back to work SO EARLY (like one week); breastfeeding was NOT WORKING; major baby blues (and some managed postpartum depression); and a few other sleepless days and screaming baby road trips and bouts of pretty serious colds and the flue, and we are to where we are now.

But man oh man, will I miss so many things.

The slowness.

I feel like now that this season is over, we will be back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, and though I missed that while we were in this season, I don’t really want to go back to that.

Having a baby brings so much slowness to life. Things simply revolve around sleep and food and diapers. So you learn to move slow, in everything.

Rocking baby to sleep is slow, diaper changes are (generally) slow, getting ready to leave to go somewhere is slow, as is getting to that place. Mornings are slow, bedtimes are slow. The slower, the better.

I will miss this slowness. I want so badly to rekindle that in my life. Why do we hurry when we could instead go slow, and enjoy the moment, and not worry about what’s next? We can’t enjoy the time we are in if we don’t slow down enough to see it.

Resting well.

Everyone knows that you’re tired with a baby. But before Joey, I did not understand how to rest. Now, I feel like if there is a moment to rest, I take it. And I do it well. Less time is spent “resting” while on my phone or in front of the TV. My rest includes things like prayer, and sleep, and nourishing my body with food and water. I rest with my husband by having good conversation and I rest with my friends by hearing about their lives.

Being a new mom.

Motherhood was new, and with new comes excitement. And fear. And change. And education. I love all these things. I like feeling the adrenaline of something new, and I like the magic that change can bring. New motherhood is such a huge blessing and privilege, and I so badly don’t want the feeling to pass.

Simple pleasures.

Things like naked butts and water hoses, belly giggles and throwing blueberries, clapping and clucking, head nods and head shakes, new teeth and growing fingernails. It’s so simple and makes us so happy. All our milestones now are huge – like walking and talking and learning the colors and picking out shoes. I will so badly miss the simple pleasures of when a “coo” turned into a real noise and when he learned to grab a rattle, and then to shake it. Watching him learn what music sounded like, or how dancing felt. Seeing him love the softness of a blanket, and the feeling of his hand on my neck while he nursed. So, so simple.

I know there are so many great, great things to come. That toddlerhood has its own loveliness and challenges, just as infants do. And I will enjoy each moment in its own right, and I will look back and feel like this every year that passes.

But right now, I feel as if I need the space to grieve this first year’s passing. I need to mourn the fleeting moments that I so enjoyed.

It’s like having the best night of your life, and not wanting to fall asleep because it will be over, and tomorrow will be different. But I really liked today. It was so, so long, and so, so hard. But oh, was it wonderful.

ERGO BABY | OMNI 360 + A GIVEAWAY!

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Let me start from the beginning.

I have an addiction to babywearing. I think it’s seriously the best thing that’s ever happened to motherhood. I feel proud to be a parent when I think about how long ago, and how wonderfully, moms have been wearing their babies. How much they got done, how much they bonded with their kids, and how much they knew it was the only way to parent.

Babywearing is really the only way I have been able to BE A PARENT this last year.

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Babywearing is how I got dinner cooked, how I went to church, how I wrote blog posts, and how I worked out.

Because of wearing my baby, I now have not only my pre-baby body back, but a body that is healthier, stronger and slimmer than it has ever been (that includes college…).

My journey of babywearing is long, and bouncy, as I use a lot of different carriers and jump back and forth between them often, depending on our current needs.

Ergo, though able to be used through basically every stage of babyhood, has been the most essential to me in the last 6 months, particularly at the gym.

(Post is in partnership with ErgoBaby)

I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of Ergo’s influencer team, and with that came the pleasure of trying out the brand new Omni 360 baby carrier. As a religious user of the original Ergo 360, I have to admit I was hesitant, as I didn’t really want to change my mind on how much love I had for my carrier.

Final thoughts? Well, I still ADORE my Ergo 360, and will continue to use it for my babywearing workouts. But, the Omni 360 definitely has a place in the babywearing arsenal.

Want to win one of these bad boys? Check out my latest Insta post to enter! Hurry though, giveaway ends in a flash.

WIN

Pros

  • Front babywearing. I actually prefer the Omni, simple because I can get Joey in an out without taking the carrier off my shoulders. Best part? I don’t have to clip the straps behind my back.
  • Flexibility of size. I love not needing an infant insert, and that depending on size of baby, I can easily adjust the height of the carrier, even while it’s on. So easy, simple, and customizable.
  • Front outward carry. Joey could have stayed like this all day in this carrier. I was able to keep him up a little higher because of the adjustment options, his arms were much more comfortable and the slimmer hip stance made it even more chill for him. Also, his head didn’t rub against my chest as aggressively as in the original 360.
  • Solid colors. My Ergo 360 is solid black, but honestly it’s the only one I’ve seen. This Omni 360 comes in lots of solid colors with no two-tone, light colored inside, making the look so much cleaner, and stains much less of an issue.

Cons

  • Hip strap. After wearing Joey on the front for more than an hour, my lower back wasn’t very happy with me. The thinner hip straps and lower back support patch didn’t really fit me very well, and I definitely prefer the wide, velcro strap of the original 360.
  • Going from person to person. Because of the so many adjustment options, switching the carrier from person to person is a little cumbersome. It takes a little more effort to fit it correctly.
  • Tightness. I couldn’t get it quite tight enough in our workout to do some of the exercises we normally do with our original 360.

So all in all? LOVED IT. But I will keep my nice, broken in, solid black, deodorant stained, perfectly adjusted Ergo 360 for the time being. Talk to me when I have a newborn though… I’ll be ordering one of these Omni 360s in a hurry.

Want to purchase an Ergo? I suggest you do ;) Get 10% by signing up for for the Nicole&Co. email updates and get your discount code.

Want to see Joey and me awkwardly review the Omni 360 at home? Check it out below and leave some love.

Back to Work

Backtowork.jpg

After a year of working “part time,” whatever that means, I’ve decided to go back to work full time.

As we all know, as a self-employed biz owner, “going to work” really doesn’t have a specific meaning. I feel like I am always working somehow, whether I’m laying in bed brainstorming about new ideas or I’m quickly answering emails while Joey takes a nap or I’m working in my studio, uninterrupted, getting sheez done. The term “work” for us is very subjective.

So what does “full time” or “part time” look like for me?

Well, it took me a year, a bounced rent check and an emotional roller coaster ride to find out.

I suddenly feel this sense of urgency that I haven’t felt in the last year. I have more than enjoyed my flexible time schedule, the relaxed days with Joey and giving myself the grace to not have time sensitive goals.

It’s time for a change, though. I’m finding that I now have these big dreams, and no patience to do them slowly. I have been oh-so lucky to have this first year with my son with little distraction. I worked just enough to get by, and that was wonderful. It was a great change of pace for someone who’s been close to a workaholic her entire career.

The term “rest” has a whole new meaning for me. I now know how to rest well, and the importance of it.

I missed almost nothing. I got to see Joey take his first steps and say his first word and make him homemade baby food and dedicate the time to build my body again. All of these things have been the most rewarding moments and journeys of my life so far, and I am so grateful that I was gifted the time, and the opportunity, to take them.

Little time has been spent on my computer. Little time has been spent late at night, working on ideas and building my business up.

The tides have shifted, and I’m now excited for the late nights and overloaded computer files and inspiration is flowing out of me and onto these blank pages faster than I can type.

In the midst of this emotional table turning, we had a mini financial crisis, and it opened my eyes to the fact that I not only was craving the change, but we NEEDED it as a family. Flexibility has trumped financial security for the maximum amount of time right now, and now we have to make the switch.

And I’m oddly ok with it.

So what does that look like for us?

Well, Joey is headed to a few full days of daycare, and I am upping my self-discipline game and working from home while Joey naps on the days he doesn’t go there (which is only Mondays…).

Figuring all this out took quite a few post-it notes covered in numbers and time slots, a very emotional conversation with my husband and three sleepless nights for me.

All in all, this definition of “full time” isn’t 8-5, five days a week. It’s three very long days away from my family, early mornings and late nights, and sacrificing my flexibility for dream chasing.

Worth it? Totally. Exhausting? Totally. Is Joey going to care that his momma spent a few more hours a week chasing dreams while he plays with his friends? Nope.

The key to this whole thing? An insanely supportive husband and a God that doesn’t leave me hanging. Oh, and self-discipline. But that’s a story for another time.

See you at the studio, loves.

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Testimony of a One Year Old's Mom

I’ve had so many posts scheduled for this day, the day before Joey turns 1 year old. Including:

  • Things I wish my 1 year old would remember someday
  • Why it’s the best and worst year ever
  • How time actually moves too fast
  • How to figure out why the hell the baby is crying

And a few others that now, seem completely insignificant.

So instead, I’m going to write a short and candid post on how I’m really feeling the night before my baby boy turns one year old.

I’m overcome. I feel like there’s no way in hell I could be a parent to a one year old. I mean, that means that a year ago, I gave birth to another human. That I actually grew another person inside of my body with fingers and toes and a heart and eyes. I mean, really. Who does that? Women, apparently. I had no idea, really, what that meant.

But now I know. I know what it feels like, literally and figuratively, to make a human. To raise them for a whole year, and know that it is only a penny’s worth of time in the grand scheme of life. But it seems like eternity, all the while seeming like a small fraction of my short life so far.

I like to think that so far, we’ve raised a good human. I mean, he’s doing great, as far as one year olds go. I think he has a wonderful personality, he’s kind and outgoing and outspoken. He is walking and laughing and playing like a big kid.

I also like to think that he knows Jesus, and knows that we love him, and that he has a profound purpose in this world. I also know that that’s a lot to expect of a human that’s only been in the real world for 365 days.

Joey has experienced so much in such a short amount of time. He has seen so much of our world. He has seen every emotion we could have in a single year: fear, resilience, passion, happiness, contentment, panic, sadness, grief, worry, joy, heartbreak. You name, he’s probably seen us feel it.

We can so quickly forget that our babies can feel, too. If we feel something, they can too. And how hard would it be to feel something, and not know why? Sweet Joey can feel my anxiety, and it scares him. His empathy is already there, and he doesn’t even know it yet.

You see, the first year of parenthood is a perfect disaster. You will probably cry more than you ever have before, tragedy or no tragedy in your past. You will laugh, and sleep, and also be sleep deprived. You will spend more time in a rocking chair than you ever thought humanly possible. Your hips and neck and wrists will hurt. You will forget that you have an identity outside of motherhood, and that your purpose is beyond this bundle of supposed joy that is currently screaming in your arms.

But then you’ll also do what are supposedly stupid things, like have a litter of puppies and a baby at the same time, and realize that it was actually the most fun you’ve had with little living creatures in your lifetime. You’ll drink wine and nurse your baby and forget that that matters. You’ll consume copious amounts of coffee and lose more hair ties than you even bought and break your cell phone more than once.

You’re going to lose handfulls of hair, from hormones and from your child pulling it out of your head (you’ll realize it’s too precious to pull out yourself, so you’ll drink more coffee instead). You can get your body back, or have a whole new body if you want one, it’s up to you. Your job will either be waiting or not waiting, and you’ll be ok with that.

The first year is just like nothing I could ever explain in the amount of detail it deserves. It’s life changing and life giving and life depleting, all at once.

I can’t say it’s been the best year of my life, but it’s certainly not the worst. And frankly, when Joey stands up in the middle of the living room and walks to the puppy for kisses, my heart explodes. And I’m just so happy that we did all that we did this year. No regrets, no questions. Just pure and utter amazement that we are all still alive, healthy and happy. Thank you Lord, for making that my truth.